Never straight; gaily forward: a review of "Happy, Texas"

Happy, Texas    (1999)
     Never straight; gaily forward.
Director: Mark Illsley.
Starring: Jillian Berard (Madison), Paul Dooley (The Judge), Illeana Douglas (Doreen Schaefer), Mo Gaffney (Mrs. Bromley), M.C. Gainy (Robert Maslow), William H. Macy (Sheriff Chappy Dent), Jeremy Northam (Harry Sawyer), Ron Perlman (Marshall Nalhober), Ally Walker (Josephine McClintock), Steve Zahn (Wayne Wayne Wayne Jr).
     Two small time criminals escape a chain gang highway clean up crew and steal an RV, which promptly breaks down.  When they are found by a small town sheriff they fear the worst, until they realize the officer, and the town, have mistaken them for the vehicle's owners; a couple (in more ways than business) of beauty pageant coordinators they have hired to turn their young ladies into the next "Little Miss Fresh Squeezed Pre-Teen."  With an eye on the yearly harvest money about to hit the local bank, the escapees turn flamboyant pros to pull a flaming con.
     This is an adorable, fantastic, off the wall comedy with a fruity twist to the mistaken identity theme.  A phenomenal script with excellent dialogue.  An absolutely outstanding cast.  Zahn is insane in the best possible way.  Northam is subtley superb.  Macy is simply brilliant.  Looking to laugh to the beat of a different drummer?  Visit "Happy, Texas."
     Favorite Line(s):  "State prisons are leakin' like a macrame diaphragm."  
"Give me the meanest steak ya got rare, and I mean rare, just dehorn it, wipe its butt and send it in."
     Worth a buy.
     The DVD has a wonderful audio commentary with director Mark Illsley and writer Ed Stone.
     First published in 2004 on The Perlman Pages.

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